Lack of time, funding, exposure or resources can make it difficult to make an impact as a non-profit. Effective communications can make all the difference to whether or not you retain your supporters and attract new donors.
It’s possible to throw money at advertising to bring in the support, but it’s also more profitable to enhance your impact organically through an effective communications strategy.
To do this, you need to leverage the right channels to reach your audience and use the best approach to engage their interest.
Ready to make an impact? Here’s how.
Set clear goals
A non-profit communications strategy needs to build awareness, fundraise, share news, reach potential volunteers and retain current donors.
But what is the goal right now?
As a communications team, you need to consider what the most important thing is to achieve with your outreach efforts. Do you want to build awareness for your brand, retain your volunteers or fundraise?
Deciding on the goal for your next campaign will affect the target audience. And directing your communications to the right people will help you create content that will convert most easily.
If you are trying to generate new donations, you could use this information to target your next social media campaign to an audience filtered by gender and age group.
Be mobile ready
Studies show that 52.2% of people visited websites on mobile in 2018. To take advantage of this user trend, you need to make sure your website is mobile friendly.
According to research by Google, 53% of visitors abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. It’s a sobering thought that if your website struggles to display on smartphones, you’ll lose half your visitors.
To avoid this, make sure to choose a responsive website design, utilize a simple mobile-friendly plug-in, or create a separate mobile-ready version of your website.
Use online press releases
Never miss the chance to publish a press release.
Use press releases to announce whenever you set a new goal, take on a new project, publish results from case studies or surveys, win an award, contribute to a conference, reach a new goal, receive a grant or participate in an event.
There are many online press release distribution services, including PR Newswire, Business Wire and PRUnderground. If you have a smaller budget, consider free distribution services, such as PRLog and NewsWire Today.
Remember to optimize your press releases with relevant keywords for online publication.
Don’t forget email marketing
Studies show that email accounts for a third of online fundraising revenue. Effective email campaigns can spread the word about upcoming events, recruit volunteers, encourage donations, deepen relationships and re-engage lapsed supporters.
Use e-mail marketing ‘best practice’ to drive a successful campaign. This includes using strong subject lines, a personalized opening and a clear ‘sender’ name that identifies your organsation.
Email content should be concise and friendly and include a direct call-to-action, letting the reader know exactly what you want them to do.
The frequency of your communications matters too. You don’t want to leave a long a gap between emails but you don’t want to bombard your supporters. Test different frequencies to achieve that sweet spot.
You might find it surprising that 82% of non-profits don’t send enough emails to keep their audience engaged. If you have some real news or a great piece of content to share, don’t be shy to email your subscribers.
Keep it simple
It should always be easy for people to donate, so it’s essential to use call-to-actions (CTAs) in your content.
When you release any social media updates, newsletters, press releases or other communications materials, always include a CTA or a simple donate button. This will encourage people to get in touch or make a donation.
Another important element to collecting subscribers is to keep your signup forms short and simple. Don’t have any unnecessary boxes to fill in as these put people off signing up
Get real, specific and personal
In addition to getting personal with your readers, it’s also essential to bring your supporters into contact with the real people they help.
When you send out communications materials, try to feature a person that your organization recently helped and explain how the donations directly affected their life.
Adding this real life, emotional element is important to keep your audience involved in your mission.
Supporters love to know their donation makes a human difference, so keep your donors updated with news about the real life impact of their gift.
Thank your supporters
Another vital element to the personal side of communications is thanking donors.
Send a personal email or make a telephone call to the donor to acknowledge their donation. Keep the acknowledgement specific and personal. This tells the donor their contribution matters.
Emailing another thank you after a set time is also a great way to re-engage previous donors.
Automate your communications
Automating your outreach and follow-up emails can save hours of work each week. It could also see your reply rates jump by 250%.
Automation can be used for all types of content, including emails and social media.
Leverage social media
Social media is free advertising and gets your brand in front of a huge audience. With more than 2.77 billion people expected to use social media in 2019, this is an essential marketing avenue.
Use social share buttons on your website and emails, ask your followers to spread the word and keep publishing regular, fresh content to your social channels.
As 53% of non-profits don’t measure their social media campaigns, this is another way to step above the competition. Use the in-built analytics data from the individual platforms for easy analysis and campaign tracking to help you assess the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
After all, if you don’t know what’s working, you can’t improve your impact.
Explore new tools
There are lots of new tools being released all the time that are perfect for a non-profit’s communications strategy.
Check out the fundraising tool for non-profits launched last year by YouTube, which lets fundraisers use video marketing to engage with their audience and receive donations directly via the platform.
By using email marketing, online press releases, social media, a mobile-ready website, automation and keeping open a regular, personalized communication channel with your supporters, you will enhance your impact and grow your business organically.
Want to learn more about creating an impact as a non-profit?
Get in touch today to learn how you can improve your communications strategy with Indiez!